Stay Gold is the third album to be released by Swedish sibling duo First Aid Kit. Johanna and Klara Söderberg have once again teamed up with producer Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes to create an album that strengthens the ‘Swedish folk’ genre that has been associated with the band and presents a record laced with Americana and country influences.
The opener and the first release off the record My Silver Lining introduces the melodious blend of the two accompanied with a generous helping of strings. It could be said that this opener begins to paint out the western landscape that is revisited throughout the record. First Aid Kit’s ability to uniquely synthesize legendary influences such as Johnny Cash into a refreshing modern blend was crucial in establishing the band on the global stage and winning praise and collaborations from the likes of Jack White and fellow sibling trio The Staves.
The Western story follows through in varying bluegrass forms, such as the uptempo Waitress which follows the tongue-in-cheek story telling nature of the traditional American country/folk genre. European artists are often critisized on the ability to capture the true and original nature of the American West and although First Aid Kit are clearly not eternally bound to the country/folk narrative, Stay Gold is a valuable attempt at trying to stay in line with the honesty of folk. Keeping in line with this, the album closes with A Long Time Ago – a simple yet weighted ballad filled with haunting and harmonious vocals undeniably more prominent in their 2012 release The Lion’s Roar.
Regardless, Stay Gold is a delightful record and although not lacking in depth, still stays true to Johanna and Klara’s bright nature. The record is set to make its live debut around the European festival circuit this summer with Latitude in July, Green Man in August and a wide range of UK and European dates in September.